AUTUMN LEAVES, THE WEST COAST, AND JOE MONDRAGON

Hollywood midday February 5, 2011 ----- I can still sing the station I.D. jingle “K – F – W – B channel 98!” – photo by Mark Weber

Hollywood midday February 5, 2011 —– I can still sing the station I.D. jingle “K – F – W – B channel 98!” – photo by Mark Weber

October 18, 2o18 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

Recent mapping of the genome has revealed without a doubt that homo sapiens is not easily pinned down —- We move around a lot, maybe stay put a generation or two, but moving on has been a central characteristic: Always tempted by what could possibly be over there, the other side of those mountains.

Wars shake things up. Reshuffle the deck. A war can show you real fast how tenuous safety and sustenance can be. That’s one reason to move on. But, let’s not forget dreams, and adventure. And seeing what an ocean looks like.

Of the musicians on these next couple radio shows only six of them are native Angelenos —- Dexter Gordon, Hampton Hawes, Art Pepper, Herb Geller, Warne Marsh, Bill Holman —- all the rest migrated to Los Angeles after WWII.

When I was coming up in California (b.1953 – my family came to Southern California with the Dust Bowl migration out of Kansas 1940) all the jazz albums of the 1950s small labels were not available, there was no re-issue programs. So, when I came on the set [an idiom I first heard from Horace Tapscott] …. When I first came on the set, in the 1970s, I had plenty to occupy myself just catching up with jazz history in general. It was the relative inexpense of making CDs that made possible the re-issue of the avalanche of great West Coast jazz that had fell through the cracks and almost disappeared. Hearing this music has brought into question the old hegemony concerning the dominance of East Coast jazz over the West.

One sees the name of Joe Mondragon recurring over and over on these records. He is listed at Tom Lord Jazz Discography with 519 sessions 1945 – 1978 from Boyd Raeburn, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Kenton, June Christy, Jimmy Dorsey, BG, Georgie Auld, Billy May, Billie Holiday, Ella, Clifford Brown, Four Freshmen, The Hi-Lo’s, Bing, Hoagy, Buddy Rich, up to his last listing October 1978 w/ singer David Allyn, and just before that with Carmen McRae (May 1976 w/ a big band that includes Bobby Shew, Perk, Bill Green, Dennis Budimer, Gerald Wilson!) —— As well, the nucleus of those we now know as the visionaries of the cool school on the West Coast: Jack Montrose, Mulligan & Chet, Bob Gordon, Russ Freeman, Russ Garcia, Wardell Gray, Bob Hardaway, the Candoli’s, Pepper, Hampton Hawes, Marty Paich, Pete Rugolo, Jack Sheldon, Bud Shank, Coop, Warne, Shorty, Dave Pell, on and on the list is staggering, sure wish we could have talked to him about all this. Joe also played on many movie soundtracks and pop records.

And don’t forget it was Joe and Shelly Manne backing Peggy Lee on “Fever” (1959).

Other working jazz bass players in the Los Angeles of the 50s: Leroy Vinnegar, Red Mitchell, Carson Smith, Howard Rumsey, Max Bennett, Don Bagley, George Morrow (w/ Max & Clifford), Monty Budwig, Curtis Counce (who went out of his way to dis-like Ornette’s music, by the way), Bob WhItlock, Harry Babasin, Ralph Pena, Gary Peacock, Charlie Haden, Jimmy Bond, Buddy Clark, Billy Hadnott, Don Prell, John Simmons, (Mingus left LA for NYC in 1951), David Bryant, Ben Tucker, Hersh Hamel, Red Callender . . . . .

Joe Mondragon was from New Mexico, raised in the Espanola Valley north of Santa Fe. It was service in WWII that landed him in Los Angeles in 1945. There is scant little information about this important player in the 1950s West Coast scene, so, I’m going to gather together as much as I can right here, and hopefully we can grow on it.

Born in southern Colorado 1920 of Hispanic patrimony, even as some biographies list him as Navajo. This could be possible via the 18th & 19th century history of Genizaros, those Native Americans who were indentured and eventually took on their overlord’s name.

But, most people I talked to say that Joe presented as Hispanic.

The name Mondragon goes back to the earliest European settlers in New Mexico, consequently it is a common name here in New Mexico and southern Colorado. It is Basque. Another story that lends itself to the Spanish connection is told by Miles in his autobiography: “How all this came about was that in 1959 I was in Los Angeles and went to see a friend of mine named Joe Mondragon, a great studio bass player, who lived in the San Fernando Valley. Joe was a Spanish Indian from Mexico, a very handsome guy. When I got to his house, he played this recording of “Concierto de Aranjuez” by this Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, and said ‘Miles, listen to this, you can do this!’ So I’m sitting there listening and looking at Joe and I’m saying to myself, Goddamn, these melody lines are strong. I knew right there that I had to record it . . .” (Miles recorded the Concierto Nov. 1959 NYC for the album SKETCHES OF SPAIN) Now, if you look at Ken Vail’s indispensable book MILES’ DIARY (1996) he shows Miles & sextet are in LA at the Jazz Saville in Hollywood the first week of July 1959.

His return to New Mexico could be as early as 1978 (?) Santa Fe saxophonist Arlen Asher expressly remembers playing two gigs with Joe just months before he died (July 1987), says that Joe’s preferred pronunciation was > monDRAGON, emphasizing the “Dragon.” [in New Mexico the name is commonly pronounced > moan – dray – gohn, with long O’s]. Says that he and Joe were connecting in all the right ways and was looking forward to further playing with him (Arlen Asher b. 1929 Arkansas).

Bobby Shew, another Albuquerque > LA > back to Albuquerque resident remembers playing jazz sessions with Joe in LA in the 1970s. “Yes, we played some gigs together before he moved back to NM. A GREAT bass player and hilarious guy!” [Shew email to MW 16aug2o18]

Leonard Feather’s first edition of ENCYCLOPEDIA (1960) Joe is listed as living at 23443 Burbank Blvd, Woodland Hills, out in the San Fernando Valley aka “The Valley” in L.A. parlance.

When he came back he would have been age 60, “He seemed older” says carpenter/contractor/bass player/Thursday jazz listener Billy Bob who studied with Joe and played gigs in the area (weddings, quinceaneras, parties, casuals, clubs) (Bill b.1954, Detroit — came to El Rito, NM, June 1975) participated in jam sessions at Mack Thomas Ranch circa 1980-1984. Other locals who were at these jam sessions: Sharon Shaheen(piano), Lewis Winn(guitar), Mark Clark(drums), Mack (saxophone). Mack Thomas was a novelist from Texas. Bill remembers that at one gig Joe played drums until the drummer showed up, and then switched to piano. Joe normally played drums on many of these gigs so that Bill could play the bass. Joe’s home was in Medanales, a little village north of Espanola on the road to Abiquiu right on the Chama River (close to where the famous 1941 Ansel Adams photo “Moonrise over Hernandez” was shot). I asked Bill if it was an adobe, “Yes, hard by the Chama, just over the bridge, his house was on the left, a humble little adobe.”

Here’s Billy Bob’s story:

“ I first met Joe Mondragon in El Rito at a jam session in a barn at Mack Thomas’ place, in the Spring of 1981. I had been the bass and occasional piano player, but with Joe we had a real bass player who could also play drums. He encouraged my bass playing, and we set up a weekly lesson schedule; in return I built his kitchen cabinets. He and his wife Mary had a modest adobe house in Medanales, right by the Chama river, where they raised Arabian horses. I acquired an upright bass, a student model from Robertson violin shop in Albuquerque. In due time we had a fairly regular Sunday afternoon event at Mack’s barn, attended by a number of Santa Fe musicians (Lewis Winn, Mark Clark, and Sharon Shaheen among them ) and played a few parties, weddings, and small clubs. Joe was a really great and supportive teacher. “ No fishing !” he would yell, when I landed a note a bit off and slid up on the fingerboard to adjust the pitch. We made a pretty good rhythm section; he had me trading fours and hammering off the strings to get things jumping, along with a bit of bow technique. He had stories of the session days in LA , including a romantic liaison with Ella Fitzgerald, and was just a great guy to hang with and learn from.” [email > MW 31oct2o18]

And here’s John Breckow (former jazz host of Smoke Rings/KPFK, and Friday afternoons/KUNM): [ email (3 combined) > MW 31oct2o18]

“Joe Mondragon… maybe the yeast in the west coast jazz bread. First call… Ray Brown… second call…Joe …maybe call him the invisible man as there is so little written about him, but when he heard Brown he said “that’s me!” and he clearly established himself as an inventive and reliable member of any rhythm section and by doing so eclipsed Brown on the sheer number of sessions and the repeat performances from so many notable leaders.

So is it…MON-DRAGON…MON-DRAY-GON…MON-DRAY-GON add the espanish accent on that last GON… i have heard it all ways… i tend to favor the last, but the middle is most often used and the first is the anglo, which i have also heard alot. curious to see where he lived in L.A…..THE VALLEY…first edition of the encyclo of jAZZ (1955) lists him at 7655 White Oak Northridge…Shelly Manne country! second edition lists him at 23443 Burbank Blvd. Woodland Hills… not so far out in the valley as Northridge.

I would try to contact Flip Manne, i bet she knew Joe well, simply based on the amount of work that Joe and Shelly did together and the Manne’s had a ranch in Northridge. She was a horse person, as i recall. Flip is active in the Los Angeles Jazz Society. She is in her 90’s but still kickin’ butt and takin’ names . . . . Looking at those two addresses from Google maps for Joe. Solid upper middle class… and in the 50’s and early 60’s …. maybe a little bit of suburban Xanadu….. you can see why the East coast Jazz mafia looked down on the Westies… normal, comfortable — got to believe there was a bit of jealousy going on there. Not to say that the Long Islanders did not have a bit of that to… just a longer commute…..jb”

Years ago on my radio show whenever I played something with Joe on it I’d get calls from family members up in Espanola. I’ve been hoping to connect with them, again.

Dexter Gordon in Quartet at The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California – December 23, 1976 w/ Dolo Coker(piano), Jimmie Smith(drums), Frank DeLaRosa(bass) ----photo by Mark Weber

Dexter Gordon in Quartet at The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California – December 23, 1976 w/ Dolo Coker (piano), Jimmie Smith (drums), Frank DeLaRosa (bass) —-photo by Mark Weber

Art Pepper & Warne Marsh at Donte’s in quintet formation – January 26, 1977 w/ Monty Budwig(bass), Lou Levy(piano), Nick Ceroli(drums) – photo by Mark Weber

Art Pepper & Warne Marsh at Donte’s in quintet formation – January 26, 1977 w/ Monty Budwig (bass), Lou Levy (piano), Nick Ceroli (drums) – photo by Mark Weber

Teddy Edwards Sextet at Watts Towers Jazz Festival – July 5, 1980 w/ Clora Bryant(trumpet), Leroy Vinnegar(bass), Clarence Johnston(drums), Fred Carter(trombone), Teddy(tenor), Art Hillary(piano) ------ photo by Mark Weber

Teddy Edwards Sextet at Watts Towers Jazz Festival – July 5, 1980 w/ Clora Bryant (trumpet), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Clarence Johnston (drums), Fred Carter (trombone), Teddy (tenor), Art Hillary (piano) —— photo by Mark Weber

Big Joe Turner waiting to go on stage at KLON Blues & Gospel Festival, Long Beach, California – July 20, 1980 ---- that’s Pee Wee Crayton’s van ---- photo by Mark Weber

Big Joe Turner waiting to go on stage at KLON Blues & Gospel Festival, Long Beach, California – July 20, 1980 —- that’s Pee Wee Crayton’s van —- photo by Mark Weber

Howard Rumsey at his Concerts By The Sea – May 23, 1979 ---- We’ll play some selections from his band The Lighthouse All-stars, there exists a dozen or more CDs of this fabulous time in the 1950s at that club on Sunday afternoons ----- photo by Mark Weber

Howard Rumsey at his Concerts By The Sea – May 23, 1979 —- We’ll play some selections from his band The Lighthouse All-stars, there exists a dozen or more CDs of this fabulous time in the 1950s at that club on Sunday afternoons —– photo by Mark Weber

There’s a piano trio playing “Out of Nowhere” in the year 2404 during a cocktail party in the opening scene of Star Trek Voyager’s final episode, proving how durable the Old Songbook really is (“Endgame” 2001), which begs the question: At what point does the music change? The idea of development and expansion is inherent in jazz, expanding on an idea, just having fun and improvising on a song, all of this has always been implied in the music from the beginning, freely expressing the human spirit ----- but something about that Old Songbook that is so magical --- Whether you’re an aesthetic Darwinist who believes jazz progresses via generations of selectivity, or you’re a Platonist who holds an idea of the tradition close and loves early jazz and figures all subsequent developments are degenerate ------- You can’t deny the pinnacle that was Lester Young ---- photo of Prez Conference in flight at Donte’s May 27, 1979 – That’s Earl Palmer sitting in for Frankie Capp(drums), Monty Budwig(bass), Bob Efford (baritone), Bob Cooper & Dave Pell(tenors) – photo by Mark Weber

There’s a piano trio playing “Out of Nowhere” in the year 2404 during a cocktail party in the opening scene of Star Trek Voyager’s final episode, proving how durable the Old Songbook really is (“Endgame” 2001), which begs the question: At what point does the music change? The idea of development and expansion is inherent in jazz, expanding on an idea, just having fun and improvising on a song, all of this has always been implied in the music from the beginning, freely expressing the human spirit —– but something about that Old Songbook that is so magical — Whether you’re an aesthetic Darwinist who believes jazz progresses via generations of selectivity, or you’re a Platonist who holds an idea of the tradition close and loves early jazz and figures all subsequent developments are degenerate ——- You can’t deny the pinnacle that was Lester Young —- photo of Prez Conference in flight at Donte’s May 27, 1979 – That’s Earl Palmer sitting in for Frankie Capp (drums), Monty Budwig (bass), Bob Efford (baritone), Bob Cooper & Dave Pell (tenors) – photo by Mark Weber

This young lady at LAX saw me with my old cameras shooting & rolling (you have to clear it out of your camera before sticking it into those x-ray machines at the TSA checkpoint) and asked what I was doing, and I told her I had to get the film out of my cameras, and typically everybody is amazed I’m still shooting film, I said Look into the camera and snapped this one – Her name is Omri Randolph, I forgot where she was heading, I was flying back to Albuquerque ---- February 7, 2o18 – photo by MW

This young lady at LAX saw me with my old cameras shooting & rolling (you have to clear it out of your camera before sticking it into those x-ray machines at the TSA checkpoint) and asked what I was doing, and I told her I had to get the film out of my cameras, and typically everybody is amazed I’m still shooting film, I said Look into the camera and snapped this one – Her name is Omri Randolph, I forgot where she was heading, I was flying back to Albuquerque —- February 7, 2o18 – photo by MW

Peter Kuhn Trio at Open Gate, Glendale, California (Los Angeles) on double bill with my band – February 4, 2o18 – Peter(bass clarinet), Kyle Motl(bass – student of Mark Dresser down in San Diego, and a great bass player in his own right), Nathan Hubbard(drumset) – photo by Mark Weber

Peter Kuhn Trio at Open Gate, Glendale, California (Los Angeles) on double bill with my band – February 4, 2o18 – Peter (bass clarinet), Kyle Motl (bass – student of Mark Dresser down in San Diego, and a great bass player in his own right), Nathan Hubbard (drumset) – photo by Mark Weber

There’s clarinet players and then there’s clarinet players ---- one of the most demanding of instruments (pick one up sometime and see if you can get a sound out of it, and, if you can, what’s that goose doing inside the clarinet?) --------- Bill Payne’s a mid-70s Buffet R-13 ---- February 5, 2o18 – photo by Mark Weber

There’s clarinet players and then there’s clarinet players —- one of the most demanding of instruments (pick one up sometime and see if you can get a sound out of it, and, if you can, what’s that goose doing inside the clarinet?) ——— Bill Payne’s a mid-70s Buffet R-13 —- February 5, 2o18 – photo by Mark Weber

Two reed players: Bill Payne & David Sherr ---------- You know Bill from his work with Connie Crothers, Carol Liebowitz, Eva Lindal, and in my bands, AND we know David from the hundreds of sessions in the studios on both coasts, mostly I remember him from the 1968 Sonny Criss/Horace Tapscott album BIRTH OF THE NEW COOL and also his Art Music Ensemble ---- Bill recently contracted David to write a couple string charts for Bill to solo clarinet over (we just need some studio time somewhere, before we can make that happen) ----- photo by Mark Weber -- February 4, 2o18 Los Angeles (at Open Gate concert in Glendale)

Two reed players: Bill Payne & David Sherr ———- You know Bill from his work with Connie Crothers, Carol Liebowitz, Eva Lindal, and in my bands, AND we know David from the hundreds of sessions in the studios on both coasts, mostly I remember him from the 1968 Sonny Criss/Horace Tapscott album BIRTH OF THE NEW COOL and also his Art Music Ensemble —- Bill recently contracted David to write a couple string charts for Bill to solo clarinet over (we just need some studio time somewhere, before we can make that happen) —– photo by Mark Weber — February 4, 2o18 Los Angeles (at Open Gate concert in Glendale)

Chris Garcia, of the capacious Garcia consanguinity, who, in and of themselves comprise 10% of the population of the Western Hemisphere, who came over with Hernan Cortes as El Lustrosos those who shine the soldier’s armor, but there was one of renown, Don Christopher el Tamborilero, who also played the drum, and it is he whom Chris’s geneology traces, deep in time, this House of Garcia emerged from the Neolithic hill people of coastal Iberia as keepers of Time and the ancient art of counting, this profound concept of counting and repetition was first thought to have come from merchants, but now there is considerable evidence that it arose with the first musicians, the bird people, who could speak with birds and learned their songs and in their caves overlooking the ocean they kept safe the incantations 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4-5 over & over, a heart pulse conformed to the incoming ocean waves crashing on the beach in the whole nighttime of the world --------- Photo by Mark Weber ----- Chris in the drum booth at New Zone Studios, Los Angeles – February 5, 2o18

Chris Garcia, of the capacious Garcia consanguinity, who, in and of themselves comprise 10% of the population of the Western Hemisphere, who came over with Hernan Cortes as El Lustrosos those who shine the soldier’s armor, but there was one of renown, Don Christopher el Tamborilero, who also played the drum, and it is he whom Chris’s geneology traces, deep in time, this House of Garcia emerged from the Neolithic hill people of coastal Iberia as keepers of Time and the ancient art of counting, this profound concept of counting and repetition was first thought to have come from merchants, but now there is considerable evidence that it arose with the first musicians, the bird people, who could speak with birds and learned their songs and in their caves overlooking the ocean they kept safe the incantations 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4-5 over & over, a heart pulse conformed to the incoming ocean waves crashing on the beach in the whole nighttime of the world ——— Photo by Mark Weber —– Chris in the drum booth at New Zone Studios, Los Angeles – February 5, 2o18

Chris Garcia in his studio on San Fernando Road near Glendale with Bill Masonheimer(tuba) rehearsing with the Mark Weber – Michael Vlatkovich Sextet ---- February 3, 2o18 for concert the next night at Open Gate (curated by Alex Cline) – photo by MW

Chris Garcia in his studio on San Fernando Road near Glendale with Bill Masonheimer(tuba) rehearsing with the Mark Weber – Michael Vlatkovich Sextet —- February 3, 2o18 for concert the next night at Open Gate (curated by Alex Cline) – photo by Mark Weber

Doing the lunch thing with Arlen at Garcia’s Mex joint on Indian School ---- I had my usual shredded beef & refried bean burrito w/ rice on the side plus their fabulous melon juice (cantaloupe) nectar of the Gods, and Arlen went avant-garde and had pancakes (singular) and eggs, for lunch? Maybe he just woke up? Saxophonists have their own folkways . . . . photo by Mark Weber – October 24, 2o18 Albuquerque

Doing the lunch thing with Arlen at Garcia’s Mex joint on Indian School —- I had my usual shredded beef & refried bean burrito w/ rice on the side plus their fabulous melon juice (cantaloupe) nectar of the Gods, and Arlen went avant-garde and had pancakes (singular) and eggs, for lunch? Maybe he just woke up? Saxophonists have their own folkways . . . . photo by Mark Weber – October 24, 2o18 Albuquerque

Lunch with Bobby Shew (that’s Cal Haines extreme right, Bobby’s drummer) ---- October 21, 2o18 --- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque – photo by Mark Weber

Lunch with Bobby Shew (that’s Cal Haines extreme right, Bobby’s drummer) —- October 21, 2o18 — Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque – photo by Mark Weber

Carmen Bradford with Caltech Jazz band under the direction of Barb Catlin, Beckman Auditorium, Caltech, Pasadena – February 3, 2o18 – photo by Mark Weber ----- Carmen tells great stories about her years (on-going) with the Basie band, I have to get her on the radio show someday soon (she’s Bobby Bradford and Melba Joyce’s daughter)

Carmen Bradford with Caltech Jazz band under the direction of Barb Catlin, Beckman Auditorium, Caltech, Pasadena – February 3, 2o18 – photo by Mark Weber —– Carmen tells great stories about her years (on-going) with the Basie band, I have to get her on the radio show someday soon (she’s Bobby Bradford and Melba Joyce’s daughter)

Harold Land & Blue Mitchell at Donte’s – July 10, 1977 ---- photo by Mark Weber

Harold Land & Blue Mitchell at Donte’s – July 10, 1977 —- photo by Mark Weber

Joe Mondragon on drum kit ------ circa 1981 – El Rito, New Mexico ---- with Mack Thomas, saxophone; Billy Bob, on bass, hidden behind Mack; Stan Grochowski, guitar; and most possibly Bob Benetta, on piano --------------- photo courtesy of Susan Bucklin, THANK YOU Susan this one rocks!

Joe Mondragon on drum kit —— circa 1981 – El Rito, New Mexico —- with Mack Thomas, saxophone; Billy Bob, on bass, hidden behind Mack; Stan Grochowski, guitar; and most possibly Bob Benetta, on piano ————— photo courtesy of Susan Bucklin, THANK YOU Susan this one rocks!

Your Thursday jazz host with 2 trumpet players: GERALD WILSON and Steve Loza – December 4, 2003 ----- In the early 70s I was shipping & receiving supervisor At a medical plastics factory and listened every day at noon to Gerald’s talk show on KBCA Los Angeles

Your Thursday jazz host with 2 trumpet players: GERALD WILSON and Steve Loza – December 4, 2003 —– In the early 70s I was shipping & receiving supervisor at a medical plastics factory and listened every day at noon to Gerald’s talk show on KBCA Los Angeles

10 Comments

  1. —————————————————-playlist———————–
    The Wigville JAZZ radio show
    November 1, 2o18 ———KUNM Albuquerque
    Host MARK WEBER
    1. Shelly Manne – Jimmy Guiffre – Shorty Rogers —- drums/baritone sax/trpt trio “Flip” –10sept54 L.A. album THE THREE (Contemporary Records)
    2. Hampton Hawes Trio w/ Red Mitchell(bass), Chuck Thompson(drums), Hawes(piano) – “What is this Thing called Love” – June 28, 1955 — Hampton’s first record date after returning from army service, and more or less his first full date under his own name, and what a great session it was, recording enough material for 3 albums HAMPTON HAWES Vol. 1 THE TRIO (Contemporary)
    3. Lennie Niehaus Quintet “You stepped out of a dream” –9july54 w/ Lennie(alto), Jack Montrose(tenor), Bob Gordon(bari), Monty Budwig(bass), Shelly Manne(drums) cd COMPLETE FIFTIES RECORDINGS Vol. 1 (Lonehill reissue of Contemporary)
    4. Warne Marsh – Ted Brown Quintet “Smog Eyes”(TB) – 3oct56 cd JAZZ OF TWO CITIES (Fresh Sound) w/ Ben Tucker(bass), Warne & Ted(tenors), Jeff Morton(drums), Ronnie Ball(piano)
    5. Dexter Gordon Quartet “Blues Bikini” w/ Jimmy Bunn(piano), Red Callender(bass), Chuck Thompson(drums) – 12june47 (Dial recordings)
    6. Claude Williamson Trio “Get Happy” – 19may55 w/ Buddy Clark(bass), Claude(piano), Larry Bunker(drums) cd COMPLETE 1954-1956 KENTON PRESENTS SESSIONS (Fresh Sound)
    7. Lorraine Geller Trio “Clash by Night”(LG) – 1954 w/ Bruz Freeman(drums), Leroy Vinnegar(bass), Lorraine(piano) cd LORRAINE GELLER AT THE PIANO (Dot)
    8. As previous “Close Your Eyes”
    9. Shorty Rogers Nonet “Baklava Blues”(SR) 9dec55 w/ Lou Levy(p), Ralph Pena(b), Shorty(trpt), Bob Enevoldsen(trombone), John Graas(French horn), Bud Shank(alto), Jimmy Guiffre(bari), Shelly Manne(d) cd box COMPLETE ATLANTIC SHORTY ROGERS (Mosaic)
    10. Shorty Rogers Orchestra “Boar-Jibu” w/ 2 tenors: Art Pepper & Bob Cooper; and 2 baritone: Jimmy Guiffre & Bud Shank – 25march53 cd box SHORTY ROGERS WEST COAST JAZZ (Proper)
    11. Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker “Bernie’s Tune” –16aug52 w/ Bob Whitlock(bass) & Chico Hamilton(drums) on Pacific Jazz
    12. Shorty Rogers & His Giants “Bunny” feature for Art Pepper (alto) – 12jan53 w/ Joe Mondragon(b), Milt Bernhart(trombone), John Graas(Fr-h), Gene Englund(tuba), Jimmy Guiffre(tenor), Hampton Hawes(piano), Shorty(trpt), Shelly Manne(drums)
    13. Wardell Gray Quartet “Easy Swing” aka “Steeplechase” – 23nov46 w/ Dodo Marmarosa(p), Doc West(d), Red Callendar(b), Wardell(tenor) cd ONE FOR PREZ
    14. Russ Freeman Trio “You stepped out of a dream” –27oct53 w/ Joe Mondragon(bass), Russ(piano), Shelly Manne(drums) cd PACIFIC JAZZ PIANO TRIOS (Mosaic Select) *3-cd box that Dan Morgenstern gave me when I was visiting his office at IJS – THANKS DAN you’re the best!
    15. Shelly-Jimmy-Shorty trio (as track 1) “Steeplechase”(Bird)
    16. Russ Garcia & His Wigville Band “Floating” noir tone poem – 4feb55 w/ renown arranger Russ Garcia(conductor), Conte & Pete Candoli(trpts), Russ Cheever(soprano), Charlie Mariano(alto), Bill Holman(tenor), Jimmy Guiffre(bari), Max Bennett(bass), Stan Levey(drums)
    17. Sonny Criss Quartet “Willow Weep for Me” –23march56 w/ Barney Kessel(guitar), Bill Woodson(bass), Chuck Thompson(drums), Criss(alto) cd COMPLETE IMPERIAL SESSIONS (Blue Note)
    18. Bud Shank Quintet (his first album under his own name) “Shank’s Pranks” – March 1954 w/ Harry Babasin(b), Jimmy Rowles(p), Roy Harte(drums), Bud(alto), Shorty Rogers(trpt) cd JAZZ IN HOLLYWOOD (Nocturne) *That’s Roy Harte of the renown Hollywood Drum Shop across the street from Local 47
    19. As previous “Case de Luz”
    *Everything on this show was recorded in Los Angeles, mostly Hollywood

  2. Always informative. Thanks.

  3. Mark — great photo of Dexter Gordon, I can see his aura I can hear his horn and I think of Round Midnight movie
    and his tall brilliant sadness and beautiful sound
    And Howard Rumsey — reminds me once in 1975 a girl took me to Concerts by The Sea (I was dropped out of
    UCLA and living on beer in a Westwood boarding house) because she wanted me to see Roland Kirk. What
    a powerhouse he was, and that was after his stroke but he still played about 5 or 6 instruments some of his
    invention I think hanging from his neck.
    Thanks for these unique timeless photos as always Mark!

  4. So much goes into the stew that was 1950s West Coast cool jazz:
    Stan Kenton
    Gerry Mulligan’s piano-less quartet w/ Chet
    perky upbeat sunshine vibe
    LESTER YOUNG
    emphasis on contrapuntal counterpoint
    chamber jazz
    whimsy
    Charlie Parker
    softer dynamics
    Chico Hamilton Quintet
    experimentation with instrumentation, both with exotic instruments and untypical harmonies in the arrangements
    and Shorty Rogers
    that club on the beach The Lighthouse
    AND in a broad sense it all starts with Miles Davis’ 1949 BIRTH OF THE COOL nonet records
    and Lennie Tristano’s Quintet
    Bartok
    BUT
    even before that there was Claude Thornhill’s orchestra with Gil’s arrangements
    preceded by Boyd Raeburn’s orchestra
    and the John Kirby Sextet of 1938-1946

  5. 2 THINGS

    1) In the opening photo, of the Capitol Tower, that wall says KFWB —- we have to reduce photos on this webpage down to 72 dpi —- if we put them up at 2400 dpi (dots per inch), in more detail, they’d crash everybody’s computer, so I’m told

    2) That’s the A-List trumpeter Paul Gonzales standing behind Shew’s shoulder

  6. ——————————————-playlist————————————
    The blues for thousand oaks jazz radio show
    November 8, 2o18 Thursday
    KUNM Albuquerque
    Host MARK WEBER

    1. Gerald Wilson Orchestra “Blues for Yna Yna” —-9sept61 – a blues waltz w/ Budd Collette section leader on flute; Groove Holmes(organ), Mel Lewis(drums); solos by Carmel Jones(trpt) &Harold Land(tenor) – Mosaic box: COMPLETE PACIFIC JAZZ RECORDINGS OF GERALD WILSON
    2. Herb Geller Quartet w/ Lorraine Geller(piano – smoking solo!), Curtis Counce(bass), Lawrence Marable(drums) – “Breaking Through the Sound Barrier” – 6aug54 cd THE GELLERS TWO OF A KIND (Fresh Sound)
    3. Art Pepper “Stomping at the Savoy” –26nov56 w/ Ronnie Ball(piano), Gary Frommer(drums), Ben Tucker(bass) – Outtake from THE WAY IT WAS (Contemporary)
    4. Russ Freeman Trio “Steeplechase”(Bird) – 15dec52 w/Red Mitchell(bass), Bobby White(drums) cd PACIFIC JAZZ TRIOS (Mosaic Select)
    5. Charlie Parker “Cool Blues” – 19feb47 w/ Erroll Garmer(piano), Red Callender(bass), Doc West(drums) cd COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS
    6. MW telcon w/ Howard Rumsey at Concerts by the Sea w/ Dexter Gordon playing on stage! – Feb. 1980
    7. Dexter Gordon “Mischievous Lady” w/ Melba Liston(trombone), Charles Fox(piano), Red Callender(bass) – 5june47
    8. Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All Stars “Out of Somewhere” –2july52 w/ Shorty Rogers(trpt), Jimmy Guiffre & Bob Cooper(tenors), Frank Patchen(piano), Milt Bernhart(trombone), Shelly Manne(drums), Rumsey(bass) cd LIGHTHOUSE ALL-STARS Vol. 3 (Contemporary)
    9. Howard Rumsey’s Concerts by the Sea message box announcements – January 1980
    10. Lighthouse All-Stars “Mexican Passport” – 2aug55 cd as previous but with Cooper on oboe, and Claude Williamson(piano), Frank Rosolino(trombone), Stan Levey(drums)
    11. Herbie Mann Quartet “Tenderly” – 10aug57 w/Jimmy Rowles(piano), Buddy Clark(bass), Mel Lewis(drums) cd HERBIE MANN’S CALIFORNIANS (Fresh Sound)
    12. James Clay(tenor saxophone feature) w/ Lawrence Marble Quartet — August 1956 w/ Jimmy Bond(bass), Sonny Clark(piano) cd TENORMAN (Pacific/Blue Note)
    13. Gerald Wilson Orchestra “Josefina” – Sept 1962 (Mosaic box)
    14. Shorty Rogers & His Giants “Lullaby of Birdland” –14sept54 nonet w/ solos: Jimmy Guiffre(bari), Bob Cooper(tenor), Milt Bernhart(trombone), Shorty(trpt)
    15. Jack Montrose & Bob Gordon “Onion Bottom” w/ Joe Mondragon(bass), Paul Moer(piano), Billy Schneider(drums), Jack(tenor), Bob(baritone) – Mary 1954 cd COMPLETE QUINTET & SEXTET SESSIONS (Fresh Sound/Jazz City)
    16. Hampton Hawes Trio “Carioca” – 28june55 — from his first album on Contemporary w/ Red Mitchell(bass) & Chuck Thompson(drums), Hawes(piano)
    17. Lyle Murphy cd GONE WITH THE WOODWINDS (Contemporary) – 11oct55 octet “These Foolish Things” w/ Curtis Counce(bass), Shelly Manne(drums), Buddy Collette(alto), Andre Previn(piano)……….
    *All tracks recorded in Los Angeles
    ** It was reported this morning that a nutjob gunman had entered a bar of college students in Thousand Oaks, California, the night before and killed 13 people including himself———–This only a week after the slaughter in the Jewish temple in Pittsburgh

  7. THE THANKSGIVING PARADE
    Host Mark Weber
    Thursday November 22, 2o18
    KUNM Albuquerque USA

    1. Virg Dzurinko & Ryan Messina “Semi-Conscious Lee” —-2dec2o14 cd UNDERTOW (New Artists Records) – piano & trumpet duets
    2. Eastern Rebellion w/ George Coleman(tenor), Billy Higgins(drums), Sam Jones(bass), Cedar Walton(piano) – “5/4 Thing” – 10dec75 Lp EASTERN REBELLION (Muse) * I caught the Russell Malone Quartet at Smoke last Sunday (their last night of a three-night run), 106th & Broadway, Manhattan, and they played a streamlined surging version of this George Coleman composition (I spent the last week in NYC and got back to Albuquerque late on Wednesday, just in time to do this radio show)
    3. Harry Sweets Edison Quintet “Witchcraft” (Cy Coleman) —12feb60 album PATENTED BY EDISON w/ Jimmy Forrest(tenor), Tommy Flanagan(piano), Tommy Potter(bass), Elvin Jones(drums), Harry(trumpet) * Russell Malone also played this number in a great arrangement that made it sound like a Wayne Shorter composition (to my ears)
    4. Russell Malone Quartet “Message to Jim Hall” – 10nov2o15 cd ALL ABOUT MELODY (High Note) w/ Russell(guitar), Luke Sellick(bass), Willie Jones III(drums), Rick Germanson(piano) ** the quartet I saw was exactly this with the substitution of the very excellent Neal Smith on drums
    5. Charlie Parker’s Reboppers “Now’s the Time” –26nov45 w/ Miles, Max, Dizzy(piano), Curly Russell (Savoy Records)
    6. Bobby Bradford gives me a lesson on the chords (him on piano) and history of “Now’s the Time” —– at his studio in Altadena 26july2o18
    7. George Cables & Frank Morgan in duet “Now’s the Time” —-1july89 cd MONTREAL MEMORIES (High Note)
    8. Bobby Bradford explains history of “The Hucklebuck” – ibid.
    9. Paul Williams “The Hucklebuck” —15dec1948 (Savoy)
    10. Carol Liebowitz & Nick Lyons —- piano & alto saxophone duets on cd FIRST SET (Line Art Records) – recorded by Connie Crothers in concert at her studio in Williamsburg 2o12 ——– I saw (& heard) a lot of Carol on this visit as I was staying at a hotel on 103rd only steps away from her studio —- one of my favorite pianists, and Nick is no slouch, either, on his 1946 Martin
    11. Louisa Lee Poster “Bye Bye Blackbird” – 2o18 cd STEPPIN’ OUT IN HIGH HEELS w/ Chip M Fabrizi(drums), Matt Malanowski(piano), Nathan Brown(drums) —- *Out for a walk I came upon the club Cleopatra’s Needle (Mediterranean Cuisine – I had moussaka & Earl Grey) at 92nd & Broadway, and saw that pianist Keith Ingham & Trio were hosting an open mike for singers from the neighborhood ——— “Cleopatra’s Needle” is the name of a 69-foot ancient Egyptian obelisk in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art that actually predates Cleopatra by 1500 years, something to see . . . .
    12. Christine Fawson (flugelhorn & vocal) newcomer to Albuquerque “World on a String” – c.2o18 cd CHRISTINE FAWSON SINGS JAZZ —- We’ll have to get her
    on the show sometime soon and ask her how she got so good
    13. Art Pepper “Here’s that Rainy Day” new release 3-cd set on Widow’s Taste: UNRELEASED ART PEPPER Vol. 10: TORONTO – 16june77
    *All dates on this playlist refer to the date of recording

  8. As always, Mark–your photos from days gone by (Dexter in his pullover period, Pepper and Marsh in their California-cool shirts, Howard Rumsey on the phone, the perennially-dapped-out Harold Land, etc.) are priceless artifacts that bring the sounds and the people who made them right back to us. Thank you.
    I’ve heard the pronunciations MON-dra-GON and Mon-DRAG-on from more than one musician in the same sitting.
    When you speak to Carmen Bradford, be sure to ask her about her grandfather, singer Melvin Moore. He was greatly admired by Billy Eckstine, which tells you a lot.
    As for KFWB, “Currently atop the Time and Temperature Tower, make-the-mark-of-the-mercury at…”

  9. ———————————playlist————————–
    Thursday Jazz Show
    November 22, 2018
    Host MARK WEBER
    KUNM Albuquerque
    1. MJQ “Willow Weep for Me” – 22jan56 (Mosaic box)
    2. Jimmy Forrest Quintet “Organ Grinder’s Swing” –1sept61
    3. Max Bennett Quintet “Rubberneck” –27jan55 w/ Frank Rosolino(trombone), Stan Levey(drums),Charlie Mariano(alto), Claude Williamson(piano), Max Bennett(bass) album MAX BENNETT PLAYS (Bethlehem)
    4. Coleman Hawkins “Disorder at the Border” – June 1962 w/ Georges Arvanitas(piano), Jimmy Woode(bass), Kansas Fields(drums), Mickey Baker(guitar) cd DALI (Stash)
    5. Dave McKenna solo piano “Crazeology” – Nov. 1991 cd IN MADISON (Arbors)
    6. Bobby Shew “Confirmation” – March 1995 cd TRIBUTE TO THE MASTERS w/ Jamey Aebersold(alto)
    THREE TUNES WITH WALKING PIANO LEFT HAND BOOGIE
    7. Dave Brubeck Quartet “Countdown” –1961 cd TIME IN OUTER SPACE (Col.)
    8. Lennie Tristano solo “Deliberation” –1962 (Atlantic)
    9. Pete Johnson & Albert Ammons “Cuttin’ the Boogie” –7may41
    10. WOW [name of group from Goteborg, Sweden] “317 East 32nd Street” –2008 cd IN THE VICINITY OF 317 EAST 32nd STREET
    11. WOW “Marshmallow”
    12. MJQ “Woody N You” – 22jan56 (Mosaic box)
    13. Kenny Burrell Trio “Tin Tin Deo” – March 1977 cd STOLEN MOMENTS (Concord)
    14. J.J. Johnson Sextet “Mohawk” – Aug.1960 cd J.J. INC. (Col.)

  10. John Breckow

    December 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    One name left out of your Joe Mondragon/ bass player piece was Don Bagley. I knew Don as a listener to “SmokeRings” and he would often call with a comment or when I played a record he was on, and despite the late hour he was always coherent,(ha ha) unlike others.

    Don was born in Utah and died in 2012.He was another longtime San Fernando valley resident since the 1950’s and his final chapter was spent in the studios, not so much in the Jazz grind, but he had a deep knowledge and love for the music and his instrument. He was also one of the few West Coast Bass players (Ray Brown and Red Mitchell excepted) who had recorded under his own name — two lp’s for Dot, both with Jimmy Rowles, and one for Savoy with a young Phil Woods. That one was an oddball one off produced by Ozzie Cadena. Although he came on the scene in the mid 40’s in the Swing to Bop era (yes, Central Avenue and the Swing club with Wingy Manone) and is on the 1952 Dexter Gordon “Steeplechase” session, he is best remembered for the notoriety he gained through the early 50’s Stan Kenton band and the features that were written for him.

    Bill Russo wrote “a study for Bass” and Bill Holman scored “Bags” in tribute to his nickname. This was the fire breathing Kenton band that loaded every talented White L.A. Jazz musician and headed for the stratosphere. They ended up in Europe and Bags was an important part of the small band sessions with Lee Konitz, Zoot Sims, Frank Rosolino as well as the budding stars of Euro Jazz like Lars Gullin. These were important recordings for the Euro Jazz audience as they forged the two continents and added legitimacy to the talented Swedish players. Don also worked in’52 with Shorty Rogers on RCA Victor and the infamous 1953 Hollywood Clef Club recording by Bob Andrews with Al Haig fronting the all Kentonite band with Richie Kamuca, Konitz, Rosolino, Conte Candoli and Stan Levey. This recording never got stateside and survives as an illusive Japan only release, but segments have made it to YouTube.

    In the later 50’s,and into the 1960’s Don Bagley scored a plum job with Bobby Troupe and Julie London. Don’s feature was a Bass and vocal duet with London on “Bye, bye blackbird” showcasing his sharp witted and fluid technique as a foil to London’s incandescent sensuality. Fortunately, several of their delicious filmed duet performances exist and have made it to YouTube. When it came to the studio version of “Blackbird” it was Ray Leatherwood who played the bass on the album “Julie”. The London/Bagley duet never made it to the recording studio.

    Don was also in on the 1960 Ben Webster “Warm Moods” session for Reprise, Webster had returned to Los Angeles to be near relatives and renewed his long lasting friendship with Jimmy Rowles who captained this date for Ben and brought Bagley in for the session.

    It was that prime early fifties Los Angeles that Don Bagley made his mark among the other great Bass players, and we remember him for those spotlight pieces that showcased him with Kenton. Oh yeah, he also played with Bird.

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